**Nothing about the personal life of Woody Allen will be discussed herein. This is a feature about his work and only that.**
BLUE JASMINE has not only put Woody Allen back on the map, it’s given Cate Blanchett a career defining role. But you know that because you’ve seen it… Oh you haven’t seen it? Then you may not know it also stars Louis CK, one of the world’s greatest stand-up comedians. In fact, over the last decade, the diminutive director has released a film a year, from the terrific (MIDNIGHT IN PARIS) to the downright forgettable (CASSANDRA’S DREAM… No, me either). In that time he’s worked with some people you might not expect. For instance…
Yes, the host of ‘Pointless’ has appeared in two Woody Allen films. He spends most of his time standing around looking puzzled, saying ‘Great,’ while staring blankly into the abyss, unable to react when somebody says something funny to him. Good ol’ Xander.
(Midnight in Paris, 2011)
Just when you thought the silver tongued, sharp witted Hiddleston couldn’t get any sexier, he rocks up as F Scott Fitzgerald opposite Owen Wilson’s time travelling screenwriter. The phenomenally popular thespian looks as crisp as a Pringle in 1920s attire with a bang on accent and hair you want to steal and floss your teeth with.
CHIWETEL EJIOFOR/WILL FERRELL
(Melinda and Melinda, 2004)
Hot Oscar favourite Ejiofor and curly haired funny man Ferrell co-starred alongside Radha Mitchell in the practically non-existent MELINDA AND MELINDA. The unlikely pair each play a suitor to Melinda in a tragedy and comedy respectively. The two scenarios are dreamed up by a couple of playwrites while discussing whether nature if inherently funny or tragic. It may well have been pretty good, but nobody seems to know. Steve Carrell pops up too, which is information that you now know.
(To Rome With Love, 2012)
Ellen Page is always watchable; perhaps most of all when playing Monica in Allen’s Italian comedy, during which she discusses art, literature and sex. If the writer/director is smart, he will cast Page again in another prominent role and add her to his regular ensemble, as her comedic timing is impeccable and her ability to switch from light and fluffy to intense and brooding suits his writing to a tee. Hopefully we’ll see more of what could be a great collaborative pairing.
LOVEJOY! When you watch a film that includes Scarlett Johansson in glasses (Unf!) and Hugh Jackman in a suit (Unf’er!) making sexy times, it’s easy not to notice Ian McShane, even when playing a ghost. If ever there was a time for him to pull out his old ‘Lovejoy’ trick and chat to the camera, it’s during a Woody Allen film, as he does that shiz all the time. SCOOP is actually a really enjoyable knockabout comedy reminiscent of Allen’s ‘early funny ones,’ it even has Anthony Head as a copper alongside the man at the forefront of this article, Alexander Armstrong. If that doesn’t push it to the top of your LoveFilm list I don’t know what will.
Some people seem born to appear in a Woody Allen film, in particular Larry David. So in WHATEVER WORKS, Woody Allen hired Larry David to play Woody Allen, much like he did with Owen Wilson in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. The ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ star plays Boris, a bespectacled ageing Jew who thinks about death and philosophy and starts seeing a girl young enough to be his granddaughter. Anyone would think Woody has a preoccupation with older-men/much-younger-women pairings, but surely not. Surely not. Absolutely not.
(You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, 2005)
Like MELINDA AND MELINDA, the world seems not to have noticed YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER, and nobody seems to have noticed that nobody noticed it. Which is fine because it’s as boring as balls. But what makes it unique is that Philip Glenister off of ‘Life On Mars‘ is in it. Make a note; DCI Gene Hunt was once in a Woody Allen film. Only briefly, being a laddy, matey, blokey bloke, but he is. And that makes him a part of the same cinematic universe as Annie Hall, Hannah and her sisters and Alexander Armstrong.
BLUE JASMINE is out on DVD and Blu Ray 17th February. You can read our review here.